Family Tree Mixed Media Canvas

There’s nothing like mixing interests for special gifts 🙂 So I used family history research to create a canvas present 🙂 Handmade gifts are so much more special and specific.

family tree mixed media canvas


  • Canvas (12” x 12”; at least an A4 size, i.e. 12” x 8”)
  • Quality paper for the tree (e.g. green and brown) and a printer
  • Acrylic paint and paint brush
  • Acid free glue for paper and canvas (e.g. Xpressit TripleTac or a paper glue)
  • Green ink pad, small leaf stamp and scissors
  • Protective spray (e.g. decoupage finish)

Optional extras

  • Brown ink pad to decorate brown paper
  • Stencil and paint or ink pad for background texture
  • Family specific significance: Family crest stamp with green ink pad, clear Zing embossing powder and a heat gun; Bee stamp with grey fabric ink pad and yellow fabric.
  • Fabric or paper accents and decorations
Some materials for a family tree canvas

Some of the materials I used


1. Research your family tree. 🙂 Start from you and work back with what you know… and then try transcription sites such as Family Search or head to your local public library to search  Ancestry or Find My Past (in Australia).

2. Search and select a tree design and fill in the tree form. Proof read before printing. I used (similar to this) to create the tree canopy and deleted the background image. Select one that fills all or most of the generations.

3. I painted the canvas with white flowers using a Fiskars ‘Fitz Fan’ stencil, and some ground with cheap paint (you get what you pay for).

white on white stenciling

white on white stenciling

4. Prepare the paper (Get quality paper or it will discolour just from getting wet. I used Vivaldi in 29 Bright green and 33 Nut in 120gsm). Test print your tree first to check everything prints as you expect. When happy, print onto the paper.

5. I cut out the trunk/branches and leaf canopy shapes, and went around the edges with Ranger Archival ink in Emerald (green) and Coffee (brown). I then scuffed the brown down the trunk where it really brought out the cut ‘roots’.

6. Glue the trunk and leaf canopy onto the canvas with strong glue. I used Xpressit TripleTac (acid free). Try and not get glue anywhere else. Wipe away any excess.

7. I then decorated the tree trunk with a green embossed stamped family crest. This was stamped on brown paper and glued onto the trunk with Helmar Professional Acid Free glue (AKA paper glue).

8. I used the leftover green paper to stamp tiny leaves all over using leaf from Ruby Rock-it ‘Happy Days’ and Ranger Archival ink in Emerald. And then cut them all out with a pair of scissors. All I can say is, stamp in straight lines connecting the tips of the leaves because then you could cut around one side continuously and then cut along the other side all along – and save heaps of time… or have a matching stamp and die cut.

stamp leaves

Use the left over paper to stamp and make leaves.

9. Stick the leaves on the tree using the Helmar paper glue. I used leaves to create the two lines from each person that are usually on an ancestor chart; then filled in the empty space of current ‘brick walls’ with leaves. I also stuck some on the ground, just because.

10. Spray coat the finished design to protect the paper from discolouring from sunlight. I used Royalcoat Decoupage Hi-Gloss Finish (to help hide a shiny glue issue…). Leave your masterpiece to dry before showing off and having people lean their hands on it.


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